Saturday, February 7, 2009
Orlando Wetlands Park Festival
Sure, it looks pretty. Just can't tell that it was actually feeling even colder than predicted.
This was the start of our day at Fort Christmas where we would give banding demonstrations as part of the Orlando Wetlands Park Festival. It was supposed to be around 43 degrees (and maybe it was) but we were greeted with a lot of frost as we began to set up.
Maria usually hates the cold, anyway, but she looks like it might be a frozen Minnesota day as she helps get the table area in order.
I tried to get a good shot of the pond getting all steamy but this was the best that I could manage. Beyond the pond is the real action of the festival where most vendors set up their tents. I opted for catching birds over being in the middle of the action but we might retool that next time.
We had a good number of visitors once they found us. Signs could have been much better.
Catch birds we did! Right after we opened the nets we started capturing different species. The very first was this Gray Catbird.
I kept noticing this House Wren moving between the bushes and the pond and I really wanted to get it. No problem. It was our second capture.
Our most numerous bird species were Myrtle (Yellow-rumped) Warblers. Many were younger birds but I vote this male Bird-of-the-Day since it was the one old enough to start shifting back into it's Spring plumage.
I placed one net in between 2 trees based on a Hermit Thrush sighting 3 years ago. It was actually my first sighting of a Hermit Thrush outside of our banding at Wekiva. What do you know, we caught one right at that same spot I photographed one all those years ago!
We had been hearing Cardinals throughout the day. As noon neared we finally captured one. The boys showed up right before this and my youngest did me the favor of taking a picture as I banded it. He says it was smoking.
Many folks got close up looks at several birds and we explained the process of banding and shared some history of birds captured over the years.
One last bird for the day. The winds were blowing pretty hard after 10 AM and we decided to close just before the official end of the festival. Despite the nets being held open by the stiff winds, this Eastern Phoebe was quietly waiting in the net behind the trees.
Many people were noticing this bird all day and it was a thrill to finally band it.
Next year, we will see if we can get any of these birds again.
Next Banding Day: Sunday, February 22th.
We will open nets around 6:30 A.M.